The FIFA World Cup has finally rolled around again and the excitement is palpable. All the nations of the world have come together to play the most popular sport known to man in a month-long celebration of culture, competition, sportsmanship, and, of course, soccer! They provide such a unique look into foreign cultures, in addition to providing a global stage for top-flite competition and heart-stopping drama.
When considering the relative scale and cultural footprint of such an event the average soccer-illiterate American may be feeling a bit out of their depth when approaching the World Cup, but don’t fret. We want to make sure you’re fully equipped to take in the beautiful game in all its glory. We’ve prepared this guide to point you in the right direction.
Well, lots of people. Overall 32 teams qualify for the group-play stage of the World Cup, where they’re placed randomly into groups of four for round-robin (everyone plays everyone else) play. Standouts among the groups include group B’s Iberian Peninsula rivals of Spain and Portugal taking on Iran and Morocco, and last-tourney’s host’s Brazil beginning their quest for World Cup redemption in group E against Switzerland, Costa Rica, and Serbia. Take this with a grain of salt though, any of these groups have the capacity to be entertaining. One notable omission is the United States. The US men’s national team missed the world cup by a hair after a heartbreaking loss to Trinidad and Tobago in qualifying.
Defending champs Germany seem like a smart pick. The spectre of their insane 7 - 1 demolition of home team Brazil on the way to capturing the 2014 cup still hangs heavy over international soccer. Though it’s just as easy to take the alternative view. Brazil is one of the traditional powers of the world cup for a reason, and have assembled their usual squad of up and coming young superstars to take on the world. The memory of being humiliated in front of their home fans may motivate the Selecao to capture their 6th cup. These are far from the only contenders. 2010 Cup champs Spain look rejuvenated after an embarrassing group stage exit in Brazil. In fact the whole European division is full of contenders, with France, Belgium, England, and Croatia all fielding star-studded lineups. Portugal and Argentina are also in the mix, as counting out the teams holding the two best players in the world (Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, respectively) seems unwise. In short, it could be anyone’s tourney. There’s a fair amount of teams here with a reasonable chance to win the cup.
There’s a percentage of you whose interest in this event disappeared the minute you heard America hadn’t qualified. That’s understandable. International sports are a kind of release valve for our own nationalist tendencies, for a month we all get together, wear our nation’s colors and wave our flag of choice while having some good natured fun assorting the superiority of our part of the globe over everyone else’s. That may be a bit obnoxious to some, but it’s better than the alternative, we used to fight wars to settle that kind of thing. Perhaps you’re lucky enough to have relations from a country that did qualify, and you still might even if you’re not aware of them. Home genetic testing company 23andme have been running a fairly novel promotion in partnership with World Cup network Fox in the run up to this year’s world cup; why not take a genetics test and find out what team you should be rooting for? This may be the perfect substitute for cheering on the stars and stripes, especially if you’ve got a group of friends you were planning to watch the cup with that would be willing to take one of these tests with you. Maybe you’ll fall in love with a quirky underdog like Iceland or Denmark after discovering your personal connection to the team!
Whether you’re taking in the cup from the comfort of your couch or are traveling to Russia you’ll appreciate the extended battery life the Mophie 10K Unplugged Rechargeable 10,000mAH Wireless Portable Charger provides. This charger is completely wireless thanks to next-generation Qi wireless charging technology, and is capable of charging two devices at once. It also comes equipped with an out-of-this world charge capacity. It’s able to charge a Samsung Galaxy S7 smartphone for 16 straight hours!
Most of us Americans will be viewing the World Cup from the comfort of our own homes, or the home of someone who has a nicer TV than yours, on the FOX networks. For those who find themselves abroad, however, you may want to brace yourself. International soccer tournaments are appointment television for millions of Americans but for other countries they’re practically extended holidays unto themselves. This is especially true in Europe. June/July vacationers to European hotspots like Paris, London, and Barcelona may be shocked to find empty streets and packed bars around match time. Why not find an (age appropriate) venue to squeeze into and join in rooting for the home team? You’d be surprised how quickly things like language and cultural differences stop mattering in the presence of sport.
This all sounds charming until you’re trying to get a full night’s sleep and you’re woken up by a drunken crowd of Berliners singing the German national anthem for the 3rd time that night. Sports fans are the same all over the world, a rowdy bunch whose decibel count is equal to their enthusiasm. When you run into situations like this you’ll be happy to have invested in some noise-cancelling headphones, such as the SilentPro wireless model from JAM Audio. The SilentPro uses bluetooth connectivity to eliminate wire-clutter and has a substantial battery life of 15 hours.
If you’re looking for the noise-cancellation without the bulk of a traditional pair of headphones, then why not try out Samsung’s new Advance Active Noise Cancellation Headset? The ANC comes equipped with triple 13-mm speaker units to pack big sound into a small package and even comes with wingtips for increased comfort.
The world cup’s group play stage has already kicked off and will continue well into July. We hope that this short preview has piqued your interest about one of the world’s true global events. If you’re looking to host a world-cup party of your own, you can come down to InMotion and pick up everything you need but a soccer ball.
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